A thin, juvenile black bear paid two visits Saturday to Kip’s Grill and Cantina in downtown Pagosa Springs.
The bear delayed the 11 a.m. opening at Kip’s when the crew discovered it on the restaurant’s deck, said Mason Thompson, a waitress who saw the bear.
“We couldn’t open with a bear on the deck,” she said. “After a while, it went to the back of the restaurant and tried to get into the dumpster, but it was locked.”
The bear appeared thin, and Thompson said a woman, whom she believed to be a tourist, also thought the bear looked thin and tried to feed it grapes.
“It looked scared and hungry, and like it knew it was in a place it shouldn’t be, and it had porcupine quills in its mouth,” she said.
The bear returned around 1 p.m. to the restaurant, which is about a half mile east of the hot springs, Thompson said.
“Everyone got up to take pictures of it, and it got nervous and it walked behind the next building,” she said.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife was called both times the bear appeared, but the bear had already left by the time CPW officers arrived, Thompson said.
Joe Lewandowski, spokesman with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, said people should not feed or approach bears, and they should report any bear sightings in town to local law enforcement.
Law enforcement will contact CPW officers to deal with the bear.
Pagosa Springs police officer Austin Gartman, who responded to the first call about the bear, said it is the second bear call in downtown Pagosa Springs that he has responded to and the fourth bear call in town he has dealt with in a little over a year on the town’s police force.
“You shouldn’t try and feed the bears,” Gartman said.
He added that when he arrived on the scene the woman who reportedly tried to feed the ursine had already left.